Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Reunion with Liloan, a New Fan and Future Plans

As mentioned earlier, the Liloan Trippers composed of Swerver and me went back once again to Liloan on November 22nd. Eyean sadly was not around because of a photoshoot in Dumaguete that necessited his skills. However, Darmae joined us as well as a newfound fan: my friend Roniel, also from Lapu-Lapu.

True to our cause of putting Liloan on the map, I invited Roniel along to introduce him to the wondrous halo2x of Liloan. The only reason I planned this return to Liloan was for me to relive the experience of Liloan's halo2x along with revisiting some sites. The itinerary seemed apt as we were introducing the place to Roniel who admitted "passing through the city without a thought" on the way to the other northern towns; no different from what I was before in relation to Liloan.

Swerver had told me and Eyean that there had been some changes to the Liloan lighthouse. The Sugba sa Parola has been renovated. Darmae said the renovation and rehabilitation was financed with funds coming right from the municipal government. The place has a high chance of recovering its fame; the lighthouse once again would be an ideal nightlife den. Yeah, one of the changes there is that you have to stand on stage if you plan to sing in the karaoke. I'd like to try that one day.

We introduced Roniel as well to the old lighthouse. It seemed appropriate to visit the old lady while visiting her daughter, so we did the same to the two lighthouses. Something funny happened though... we almost lost the way but a young cow that we had seen on the road earlier followed us. It seemed as if he wanted to show us the way because he kept calling us. The moment we realized we were lost, we turned and the cow was walking through another path. We decided to follow it. The cow remained behind when we found the right path. Coincidence? You judge, but we did say our thanks to the cow.

We spent a few minutes on top of the old lighthouse, strong winds and all that discussing what we could discuss. Roniel and I made plans to return with another friend but just lately we scrapped the idea because the guy had expressed desire to jump from the cliff and into the rocks below. After that, we went down and went to where I originally intended to go: Hanz Halo-halo.

While we ate our dinner and our halo-halo, we realized the world is round as the conversation revealed that we had a few common acquaintances between us, all of them from the University of the Philippines where Swerver graduated from college. We made plans to return again, since Swerver and Roniel both wanted to take a dive in Suba Channel. Swerver originally wanted to dive, but the water had a lot of dirt so Darmae talked him out of it. Next time, they said. Well, definitely not my cup of tea lol.

Besides, we still have to find that missing falls in Liloan that one of Swerver's contacts had pointed out to us earlier.

~The Immortal Undead

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Return of the Liloan Trippers

Finally, after more than a month of inactivity, the Liloan Trippers together with swashbuckling photographer Eyean will be hitting the road once again to that dear town we call our second home: Liloan.

Itinerary has not yet been decided, but word is, the Liloan lighthouse is lighted up once again at night. Plus, word has reached us that every Monday, Wednesday and Friday there is some kind of festivity in the vicinity of the lighthouse. Thus, true to our promise of showing the world the beauty that Liloan is, the Trippers are going there to witness first-hand these new developments in our beloved second home.

We'd be going there sometime next week, on November 21, 2008. Personally, I'm excited!


Thursday, October 9, 2008

What Happened to the Liloan Trippers?

It's been a month since the Liloan Trippers ever made a post in our beloved Liloan travel blog. Main reason is, we have never been to Liloan in a span of a month. That's because Swerver and I had been too busy attending to our individual jobs. Yes, the pressures of the Mandaue Business Month contest are gone but it doesn't mean we've forgotten about Liloan. We obviously haven't forgotten about our quest to put it on the map along with the other municipalities of Cebu.

As for me, Immortalundead, I have been tasked with so many jobs (thank God) these past few weeks. Right now, I still have Liloan on my mind with all those delicious halo2x and the relaxing breeze from the sea. Personally, I want to go back to Liloan. I'm sure Swerver does. Eyean probably does too. Well, as soon as we straighten out our schedules we'd go back there. Perhaps we might even go to other Cebu municipalities.

The contest may be over, but I still feel flattered with all the support that the people in both of our networks showed us. I still feel flattered each time I read all the comments in this blog about our posts being so informative. The best news I've had from this blog is that a group of students actually found our blog so informative that they included us as part of their references for their cultural mapping project.

This group plans to explore Liloan as soon as they have the time. Swerver, Eyean and I certainly wouldn't let this opportunity pass.

Please hang on, dear loyal readers. It doesn't matter how many you are, but we are very grateful for all your continued support.

~ The Immortal Undead

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Golden Boat of Mulao

By far, Mulao has been the most intriguing place in my list of spots in Liloan. Yes, despite the fact that we spent 2 hours wading in the river and climbing rocks, I still find the place worthy of some thought.

First, the boat-shaped stone. Even if it is perched precariously on two rocks separated by a 2-meter space and the fact that the two bases are cracking under the boat's weight, the stone maintains absolute and perfect balance. I think I've heard Charlie say that the stone has remained despite strong currents and flash floods from the mountains. Wonderful, and wonder-inspiring.

Mulao, however, is not only known for one boat. The place has stories of another, more awe-inspiring boat.

They say that in the river, once in a while, there floats a golden boat. I didn't get the details of this story because I was just catching snippets of talk from our three tour guides, so busy was I trying to take a photograph of the boat-shaped stone. What I remember clearly is the fact that the golden boat does not take lightly to anyone witnessing its passage. One resident of Mulao who had been blinded years ago would say that the last thing he saw was a glistening golden boat floating in the river.

Scary, isn't it? This boat is the least severe of them all, I think, since I remember a comment in Swerver's Multiply saying that, in the Davao River, a golden boat that appears only to drunks swimming in the river will kill whoever sees it.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sights and Scenes in Liloan

Buddy and photo guy Eyean's masterpieces during one of our trips all over Liloan.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Liloan Trippers:After the Contest

First off, we thank all for the support and enthusiastic responses. Never did we expect such kind and amount of audience for a then virtually unknown town in so short time. Liloan Trippers entered the competition more than a month later than any other participant. Perhaps we were even the most inexperienced bloggers. For instance, we didn’t realize the importance of “strategic tags” at first. We had to learn a lot of stuff super-fast as we went along.

Yet, in just a matter of 15 days, the interest shown by people from all walks of life had been phenomenal. Against the then-leading site, we were behind by almost 400 unique views when we started. (For the first two days, only Swerver and Immortalundead visited the site as we couldn’t even make our Mommas proud for Liloan Trippers’ layout design.) When the blogging competition ended yesterday, we were almost 400 unique views ahead of the closest second. Based on contest rules, the popularity of a site makes up for a whopping total of 70%. We don’t think any other site (save one which was incidentally the eventual winner) was able to really challenge us in the popularity department. We only have you guys to thank for that. By the way, the remaining 30% goes for blog design, aesthetics and perhaps the content. We also don’t think we fared low, by any standard, for the 30%. We can even say with full confidence (and all due respect) that we came up with more and pretty interesting entries, not the normal Wikipedia-like contents from other participants.

Still the same, the hard truth now is that Liloan Trippers lost. This may sound like a sentimental sourgraping but we still couldn’t understand it how come. Why?

Maybe the contest organizers added new criteria late in the game and we didn’t know about it. Maybe the judges did not receive it well that we mainly blogged about one Cebu town, instead of the whole Cebu province. But we made known of our intention from the beginning and they didn’t give a word that it was a wrong move. We stated our decision even in some Liloan Trippers posts that while we focus on Liloan, inevitably, other places in Cebu also get to be featured on the side. You can never separate One Cebu. Liloan is still part of Cebu Province. Hence, a good advertising campaign for Liloan is good for all of Cebu Province. Liloan is in the countryside. Thus, promoting the town's tourism will further the shared goal of blogging organizers and Cebuanos in general to highlight the strong partnerships for development of a bustling industrial metropolis utilizing resources from a vibrant countryside.

“We feel that Liloan is one of the most underrated towns in Cebu. Given enough exposure, Liloan will provide a significant option for potential Cebu tourists.”

We also said in
earlier entries that Liloan Trippers (being a Johnny-come-so-lately) didn’t expect to win at all. But the win for top prize unexpectedly and suddenly came as clear as Liloan’s sunrise as the days went along. Maybe they took the former statement too seriously and it was completely okay for them to deny us the win. We hope that the blogging judges actually read all Liloan Trippers’ entries and checked our hits. Why were there winners already on August 30 if the contest culmination was supposedly August 31? Why was Liloan Trippers not included in the official list of participating blog entries? We formally joined the contest and they even asked us, which we did, to include their default and sponsorship widgets. Ultimately, we just wish that we lost for the right reasons.

Despite it all, and in all honesty, the Liloan Trippers are overwhelmed with the turnout. We have checked the other participants’ sites and we couldn’t help in asking ourselves who promoted Cebu more. We are proud to note that foreigners from as far as Arizona, Egypt, New York, U.K., etc, have been keen readers of the site and have shown genuine interest to give Liloan a visit if given the chance. Mainly through the help of friendly networking and linking, we believe we have achieved something great. That is, if being able to make some foreigners to add Filipino words such as “halo-halo,” “lilo” and “habal-habal” in their vocabulary counts. In view of this, Liloan Trippers will stick to its original plan of featuring Liloan and Cebu past the blogging contest. Again, Liloan Trippers is not in any way paid to do so (or not yet anyway). ;-) We are doing this for the sheer fun of being trippers and having to enjoy Liloan’s rosquillos dipped into halo-halo once in awhile.

-- Liloan Trippers (written by Swerver)

p.s. Tomorrow, in fact, we will be in Liloan again to have more pro-level pictures courtesy of Eyean. Do check out for that! Ciao!

p.p.s. I don’t know why but this whole thing makes me miss Serena Dalrymple. Remember that cute girl in old Jollibee commercial who said to Aga Mulach “isa pa, isa pang chicken joy”?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Landang Story

Do you know what landang is? Landang is a very important ingredient for binignit, a local dish and snack staple in the Philippines.

Do you know how landang is made? No, it is not grown like most of the ingredients for binignit. Well, the raw material is grown, however, the final product is manufactured through a process that is as old as our grandparents.

The raw material for landang is derived from a tree called buli, which looks almost like a coconut tree except that it doesn't have fruits. According to our local guide Rolly, the buli blooms and releases thousands of pellet-sized seeds. Trees are allowed to bloom before they are chopped down, they said. A buli tree grows to maturity after 30 years, our other tour guide Archie added.

Another interesting fact is that the different parts of the buli tree when harvested are useful in the entire process of creating landang. Here's how it goes.

First, the bark is scraped off the trunk of the tree. This bark then serves as firewood to fuel the fire that is used to boil the raw material for landang, which is the final step of the process. After the bark is scraped off, the inner skin of the tree is then harnessed and this serves as the raw material for landang.

This is the raw material for landang. At first, it takes a wood-like appearance but this is refined later on to the powdery form you see above. The refinement process involves the raw material being pounded with mortars until it reaches the desired consistency. Check photos below.

After the material is pounded to pure dust-like appearance, it is then mixed with water. There even is a "landang pool" where children swim just to stir the material and make sure the powder is dispersed evenly in the water. Unfortunately, we were not able to take pictures of this pool but we did take pictures of the small-sized pools where the material is stirred by hand.

All in all, the entire process take eight hours to complete until the binignit-ready landang is produced. We were not able to see how the landang is coagulated to its final form, but we were explained that it is heated. Besides, we already know what landang looks like.

~ Immortalundead

Inside San Fernando Rey Church

By the sweats of forced labor, the church of Liloan was built in 1847. As previously blogged, we asked the parish priest's permission to take pictures of the underground tunnel. The priest couldn't know where the opening of the tunnel is.

It was reported that during the American offensive to liberate the Philippines in WWII, the US Airfoce dropped bombs to destroy the church. It was absolutely an easy target yet there were no hits (only big holes in the ground). It was as if the bombs were like "thrown stones deflected in their flight by a sword."

Was it because Liloan Church's patron saint was a warrior king?

Take a look at the well-designed and highly furnished interiors of the church.


We can never talk about Liloan if we don't mention the mouth-watering and sweet-tasting cookie called rosquillos from Titay's. For many Cebuanos, Liloan is even synonymous to rosquillos. If Carcar has ampao and "itlog mo noy orange", Liloan's perennial pride has been the rosquillos. The truth of the matter is that when Liloan joined Pasigarbo Sa Sugbo's Festival of Festivals, the town showcased its uniqueness and pride by featuring the Rosquillos Festival to all onlookers.

Rosquillos is a cookie curiously shaped as ringlets. The Spanish word “rosca” means ringlet. The ingredients for rosquillos include flour, egg, sugar, shortening and baking powder. But many people have felt that there must be a secret ingredient why rosquillos tastes so good.

Titay’s Rosquillos traces its roots all the way to 1907 (the year before UP’s founding), when Margarita “Na Titay” Frasco one day got bored and started experimenting with her baking ingredients and all of a sudden made her new culinary creation. Like a real scientist, Na Titay used her neighbors and passerby as lab rats who were offered the snack as a freebie for every purchase of a bottle of soda. The yet-to-be-named cookie was “baptized” by then Cebu governor Sergio Osmeña, Sr., who called it rosquillos in reference to the Spanish wine ring cookie known as Rosquillos de Vino.

After more than a century of home baking tradition, the patented secret family recipe has been passed on to the next Frasco generations paving the way for Titay’s to continue making delicious and one of a kind rosquillos. People going to northern Cebu have made it a habit to drop by her store to buy and enjoy the rosquillos. Titay’s Rosquillos gains the prestige of being known domestically and internationally. For foreign nationals who want to get a taste of rosquillos, most Filipino stores abroad have a display of this cookie wunderkind.

While Titay’s is synonymous with rosquillos, the family baking business has expanded to an array of homemade delicacies ranging from galletas de bato, torta, peñato, binangkal, polvoron, mamon, monay, otap, caycay, CPA (chicken pork adobo), bao-bao, elorde and a lot more mouth-watering pastries.

But before you taste other different animals, you got to try out rosquillos first for its charming tongue treat. And because rosquillos recipe can never be replicated in any other home than Liloan.
Group Presentation - Festival Queen - Rosquillos Festival 2008.mp3 - Liloan

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Street Businesses in Liloan

It is normally in the poblacion area of small towns where all sorts of commerce converge and human activities mingle. Liloan is no exception except that the town’s poblacion area is, by all definitions, a truly one-stop-has-it-all.

If you stand at the town rotunda (there’s a lighthouse replica in the middle), you will be surrounded by the plaza; municipal hall; the Liloan Church; gymnasium; and perhaps the biggest private school of Liloan (La Consolacion College). The Liloan Public Market, beach area, Balay Pilapil, sizable tennis court, and Suba Channel are all few walks away.

All around the poblacion teems with street businesses of all colors and sizes. For gastronomic needs, you won’t encounter any problem at all. Let the pictures tell you about what’s a cooking in Liloan’s main thoroughfare… from yummy halo-halo to motorcycles to little pizza stall to peanuts to fresh fruits to native rice delicacies known as "pa-init" to chicharon to Jollibee to lechon manok… ahh… Liloan... a place like no other!

Twin Towers of Liloan (naming game)

Let’s have a little breather here. We are already aware that Liloan has two lighthouses. The first one was erected by the Spaniards in 1857, making it older than the Ateneo de Manila University. The other one was constructed through the order of then Governor General William H. Taft in 1904, making it older than the University of the Philippines. Sad to say, only the American version stands high and mighty. The Spanish parola is now left to ruins and rubbles, only its base part remains for the curious eyes.

The Liloan lighthouses should not be neglected further. The twin towers of Liloan, as we like to call them ala Lord of the Rings, have played a significant role to the whole province being the knobs of the old Cebu doorway by the sea. You can just imagine how the structures have helped brought home many a lonesome sailor to the arms of waiting wives and children. Liloan Trippers humbly suggest for the restoration of the Spanish lighthouse (the two lighthouses have quite distinct designs and material structures).

Sure, the lighthouses are relics of a sad past. But it should not stop the people of Liloan from putting off the light of vigilance. It is through looking back at the past that we can determine better ways to navigate the future. There must be a concerted effort by concerned individuals to restore and preserve these structures back to old glory. The lighthouses will not only show the way for ships, but also serve as the town balcony. If it isn’t possible nautically to have two lighthouses in one place, then at least have the Spanish parola for keepsake. Liloan Trippers also suggest for decent lighting around the lighthouses to encourage more tourist visits especially at night, as well as for a guided tour of the old lighthouse for safety and tourism purposes.

In the words of one Liloan chronicler, the lighthouse is “full of light, a vigilant guide to the eye that blinks but does not sleep on duty”.

And, finally, for the breather… I think we could convince the bureaucracy more to speed up its moves with respect to the lighthouses if we put names to the twin towers. For instance, they’d say “gee, they do really care because they are treating the lighthouses like their babies!” So, help us with the job of coming up with names for the twin towers! Of course, the most popular suggestion will win the naming game and one glass of special halo-halo from us (fare ticket not included).

You can vote through this post by making a comment. It’s not hard as you think. You only need to press that little comment icon and place your log-in Gmail/Blogger account. You may opt to comment as “anonymous” if you are that shy. Hard enough? The second and much easier option for voting is to go to “Interact with the Writers” widget at the side of this site. Type in your comments at the “message” space and put your name. The space for “website” is optional. That easy and we will then tally the results.

I once blogged in my Multiply page that if ever I’ll have my own male twins, I would name them Engelbert Humperdinck and Fra Lippo Lippi. My Pa loves their songs, that’s why. But I couldn’t use those names for the twin towers, lest I won’t have originality anymore with my baby twins. I’m thinking of exotic names for the twin towers like Isla Marcheline and Amelie Jane. But no, Angelina Jolie used them already. What cha think, guys? Please help us! ;-)


The Mulao Adventure

Once again, the Swerver-Immortalundead tandem (better known as Liloan Trippers) braved the perils and hindrances and found themselves once again in Liloan, with our fellow freelancer and photographer Eyean tagging along.

I will not enumerate the places we traveled here, because I've already done so in a previous blog. Instead, I will tell you about the (mis)adventure we had in the rivers of Mulao in our quest to find the boat-shaped stone that people were talking about.

The trip started in earnest around 12:30, just after lunch near Wiggy's Beach Resort. The Liloan Trippers, together with our tour guides and transports Archie and Rolly, started motoring off to the far-flung and elevated barangay in Mulao. Once there, Archie picked up another guide, his friend Charlie. Charlie had warned Archie that the trek to the boat-shaped stone was a tough one but Archie thought Charlie was joking. The end was history.

After a few minutes' motor trip up the mountain, we started descending towards the river. Once there, we learned that we were going to wade into the waters, dressed in jeans and all. It's a good thing that we were lent slippers or it would have been more dangerous in shoes. All unprepared, the Liloan Trippers still chose to go forward with the adventure.

An hour's worth of currents, rocks and stones, and soft soil, we found ourselves in front of the awe-inspiring, dark colored boat-shaped rock. Our three local friends went through the obstacles like Legolas skipping lightly over snow, but the Trippers lagged behind blaming our unpreparedness. Still, we refused to give up. I wasn't able to take pictures because of the fear of getting my camera damaged since it didn't have a sling, but Eyean was able to. His pics will be shared later.

A few minutes were spent at the stone ship, where Archie decided to take a dip while Swerver, Eyean and I eyed the ship. It was a wonder. The three-storey structure precariously perched on two rocks with an approximately 2-meter gap between the two bases. What's amazing is that the bottom of the stone ship was shaped exactly like the bottom of a real ship. On close look, the thing was shaped like a Noah's Ark, which led may have led to its nickname "The Stone of Faith."
We decided to pack up and go back the way we came after a while. The trip was smoother this time, because the Trippers were now confident of their traveling skills. However, we still lagged behind because our legs felt like rubber and were heavy as steel. But the trip was shorter this time. At the end of the road, our three guides got us some coconuts to replenish our lost salts and water.

~ Immortalundead